Fast pasta recipes: Fresh, no-fuss weekday suppers in a flash

Pasta rarely takes long to cook, but these fresh, fast pasta recipes will have dinner on the table in the quickest of flashes.

Pasta with crispy sausage, peas and mint

pasta with crispy sausage peas and mint
Chris Alack

SERVES 4

400g good-quality sausagemeat (for example, from Italian pork sausages seasoned with fennel)
1 tsp finely chopped thyme leaves
1 tsp dijon mustard
sea salt and black pepper

FOR THE PASTA

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 banana shallots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
100ml white wine or chicken stock
300g conchiglioni or pasta shapes of your choice
200g frozen peas
2 tbsp coarsely chopped mint leaves or small whole mint leaves
freshly grated pecorino to serve

1. Combine all the ingredients for the sausage together in a large bowl until well mixed. Heat the olive oil in a large wide sauté pan or saucepan over a medium heat, fry the shallots for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding the garlic just before the end. Crumble in dollops of the sausagemeat and continue frying for a couple of minutes until browned, breaking up the sausage a little but leaving some nibs. Add the wine or stock and simmer for 10 minutes or until reduced and the sausage is cooked through. 

2. At the same time cook the pasta according to the packet, adding the peas for the last 3 minutes. Drain the pasta and peas, combine with the sausage mixture and finish with the mint and grated cheese 

One-pan roast tomato pasta

one pan roast tomato pasta
Chris Alack

SERVES 4

Have ready 900g mixed baby tomatoes (for example, cherry, yellow, orange and baby plum) and 300g fusilli or pasta shapes of your choice. Preheat the oven to 250C/230Cfan/gas 9 1/2. Arrange the tomatoes in a large roasting tray so they fit snugly in a single layer, drizzle over 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Add a sprinkling of thyme leaves and season with sea salt and black pepper. Roast for 10 minutes by which time the tomatoes will be softened with most of the skins bursting. Pass half the tomatoes through a sieve back into the roasting pan and gently combine with the reserved tomatoes and roasting juices. At the same time cook the pasta according to the packet and drain. Tip it into the roasting tray and gently combine with the tomatoes and juices. Finish with a few flakes of sea salt, a good grinding of pepper, freshly grated parmesan and a sprinkling of micro leaves. 

Penne with chicory and anchovies

penne with chicory and anchovies
Chris Alack

SERVES 4

400g penne rigate or pasta shapes of your choice
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
300g (trimmed weight) chicory
sea salt and black pepper
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium red chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 tbsp juice
10 salted anchovy fillets, finely chopped
6 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

TO SERVE

4 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs, briefly fried
extra parsley

  1. Separate the chicory leaves and cut them into long, thin strips. 

2. Cook the pasta according to the packet. At the same time, heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the chicory, season and fry for 5 minutes until softened, stirring frequently, adding the garlic, chilli, fennel seeds and lemon zest a minute or so before the end. Remove from the heat and stir in the anchovies, parsley and a tablespoon of lemon juice.

3. Drain the pasta, but not too thoroughly, and return it to the saucepan. Add the contents of the frying pan and remaining oil and toss. Serve scattered with extra coarsely chopped parsley and fried breadcrumbs. 

Spinach pasta with cheese and walnuts

spinach pasta with cheese and walnuts
Chris Alack

SERVES 4

Have ready a 450g-500g bag washed spinach, 300g spaghetti or pasta shape of your choice, 100g coarsely grated gruyère and 50g finely chopped walnuts. Peel 3 garlic cloves and halve them lengthways. Heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan, scatter in the garlic and pile the spinach on top. Cover with a lid, pressing the spinach down. Cook over gentle heat for 10 minutes or until the spinach is wilted. Whiz the contents of the pan in a blender with 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice and a large handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg then give it another whiz until smooth. Reheat the sauce as necessary. Cook the pasta according to the packet, drain, reserving a little of the cooking water, then return to the pan. Add the spinach sauce and toss, adding some pasta water to loosen if necessary. Fold in the grated gruyère and let it melt. Finish with a liberal dusting of freshly grated parmesan, the walnuts scattered over and an extra drizzle of oil if wished. 

10-minute crab pasta with lemon and chilli

10 minute crab pasta
Chris Alack

SERVES 4

FOR THE SAUCE
1 medium-hot red chilli, finely chopped (cored and seeds discarded)
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed to a paste
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp lemon juice
2 heaped tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
sea salt and black pepper

TO SERVE
400g black linguine or other long pasta
200g mixed brown and white crabmeat
extra parsley
lemon wedges

1. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a large serving bowl and have ready while you cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

2. Season the crab to taste. Drain the pasta in a colander, reserving 2 tablespoons cooking water, and shaking off the excess without worrying about every last drop. Tip the pasta into the bowl with the sauce and reserved pasta water. Toss to coat and serve immediately with the crab on top, scattered with extra parsley and with lemon wedges on the side.

Pappardelle with roast peppers, burrata and fresh basil

pappardelle with roast peppers
Chris Alack

SERVES 2

Have ready 150g pappardelle or pasta of your choice, 125g burrata and 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts. For the sauce, whiz together 25g basil leaves, 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 small peeled garlic clove, 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil with sea salt and black pepper to taste. Whiz in a little more oil to taste to achieve a smooth consistency. Drain a 230g jar roasted red peppers (for example Fragata), slice or halve them and heat them through in a little oil. Stir in 2 tsp balsamic vinegar. 

Cook the pasta according to packet and drain. Toss the pasta with the warm peppers, dollop the basil sauce alongside, tear over the burrata and finish with the pine nuts and extra small basil leaves.

Recipe by Annie Bell. Food styling by Clare Lewis. Styling by Sue Radcliffe.